"Behold, children are a heritage frm the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward." Psalm 127:3

I love bringing forth children... and this is my journey in training them for the King

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Anniversary Blessings

Today Dwight and I celebrate our 10th anniversary of marriage. I'll be honest, that first year I NEVER thought we'd see this day arrive. However, with the Lord, all things are possible! He has given us a greater desire to seek Him and His will for our lives. In turn, we've grown to love His Word, and I believe, it's caused the following to occur:  We love each other more now than we did when we first married, we've learned to be less selfish and help each other more, we've learned to love and welcome the blessings He puts in my womb, we've learned to serve others with greater appreciation, and joyfully share the things God has given us.

I am so thankful the Lord has given us this day to share!! He controls our every breath, our every sunrise and sunset, He's still in control when our circumstances seem to go haywire. He even controls the areas in life we think WE have control over... our income, our living situation, the number of children we have, and so on. We should have great peace knowing that our loving Father doesn't ever lose control. He never forgets to do something important. He isn't surprised when disaster comes upon us. He allows even those things to come so it may strengthen our faith and cause us to lean harder on Him.

It may not be a 'special' day for you, but take some time today to tell the Lord how thankful you are to have another day to cherish and serve your family the way Jesus did.

This is our latest family picture. It's so beautiful to me to see how the Lord is growing our family!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry CHRISTmas!!

Dwight & I gave the children their gifts last night. I can't believe how big Corbin is getting. One of his gifts this year was his very own "real" Bible (as he calls it). He's worked very hard this school year learning to read, and really enjoys having Bible studies with his daddy. He was so excited to receive this gift! He later came to me & told me it was his 'most favorite gift he got for Christmas'. :)

May all of you have a wonderful day today with your families celebrating the King of Kings & Lord of Lords!! Merry CHRISTmas...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Saying Goodbye

Well, my grandma didn't make it to Christmas. She left this world yesterday, December 21st... which also happened to be the 30th anniversary that she had to say goodbye to her own husband. I pray they are together in heaven rejoicing at their reunion. If they are, I know they are thrilled to hear one another's voice for the first time. Both of my grandparents were deaf... and I'm sure my Granny has much to share with him after so many years apart!

The hospice facility caring for Granny gave us ample material to help prepare us for the end-stages of life. I read them all, more than once, and thought I was really ready to face the last leg of our journey together. However, I find myself in an unexpected place now. I was completely expecting to feel a major relief. What I wasn't ready for was the array of emotions I would go through.

Caring for Granny has been a journey of good days and bad... ups and downs... laughter and sorrows... joys and frustration. I admit, some days I wanted to throw in the towel and give up, and there were days I thought, "How can I continue on like this?".

They say hindsight is always 20/20. Well, looking back, I realize how blessed I am to have had this time to not only help Granny, but also bond with my mom in a whole new way. We now share memories and feelings only we can have because we have that shared experience. And what a blessing it can be when you are obedient to the Lord's will... even if it means you have to make a sacrifice or two along the way!

This was my first time to watch someone take their last breath and step into eternity. It's definitely something you don't forget... it leaves an impression on your heart. It has given me a greater understanding of our bodies being just temporary vessels. Yes, 93 years is a long time in our minds, but it's so, so short in light of eternity! Our time on this earth is only a vapor in comparison... What are you doing in this life to prepare for the next?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A world of hurt

I am just sitting here this morning pondering so many things: my feelings, my to-do list, how much will be left undone on that list, and so on. But there's one thing that stands out more to me right now...

It seems like there is so much hurt going on in the world... even if you don't know anyone personally, just read the online news, pick up a paper, or turn on the tv. Maybe it's because of the Christmas season, but there's just something that makes your heart hurt when you hear of someone losing their life this time of year. In just one day, I found out 2 people I know of died, 1 found out they have breast cancer, and my own grandmother may be the next to leave this life... probably before Christmas day. Yes, it's difficult to say goodbye to someone you love when this season is supposed to be filled with joy and happiness...

Truth is, Jesus is what makes this season special, but if you are a child of the King, you have reason to celebrate EVERYDAY of the year. Praise the Lord for that!! People are losing their lives daily by the multitude worldwide. Sadly, most of them probably have a very grim eternity. We should rejoice for those leaving this life who have secured an eternity in Heaven... and those who don't, well, that should grieve us even more!

Embrace today, tomorrow, everyday as if it were your last. Take time to share the love of Jesus with those around you and those you don't know... because you never know if that day it will be THEIR last.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Worship In The Desert

Have you ever felt like you're in a spiritual desert?  I have.  It's a place where things seem dry and lifeless... no growth, no joy, the scenery surrounding you is just "same 'o, same 'o", and you can't see any signs of hope for a change on the horizon.

I found myself in that place suddenly after what felt like a huge growth spurt in my walk with the Lord.  I didn't understand it.  In fact, I couldn't even describe this foreign place I was in. That is, until I was called upon to stand and worship the Lord in this place.  Easy right?  Well, easier said than done became my reality.

I opened my mouth to sing, but quickly realized it was just 'lip service'.  I wanted to raise my hands, but they wouldn't budge.  Pray?  Well, it felt like I was talking to a wall.  "What's going on?", I thought... "Why is this so hard to do?"... "I don't understand."  I called on my husband (literally, I called him on the phone) to take me before the Lord.  I had finally put my feelings into words.  I had lost my joy... and I didn't know how to find it! *sigh*

I was at a women's conference, and my sister-in-law was there too with some different people.  I knew she was in the room, but we weren't sitting together.  I immediately called her cell, "Can you meet me somewhere and pray over me?"  She obliged and the events that followed could be none other than God himself speaking to me.

I went from being almost emotionless to a complete basket case!  The floodgates of my tear ducts had been opened, and because of this, I couldn't hear much of her prayer except, "Lord, let this time be a sacrifice of praise for Jennifer".  It was as if the Lord resounded that statement in my heart like an earthquake!

After the prayer, I went back to my seat and opened the Word to hear more from the Lord.  I just opened my Bible and did the whole, "Ok God, speak to me miraculously" thing.  I know, seems a little lame, but that was me in my very fragile state.  So, I apparently turned to 1 Chronicles 16.  "Huh? 1 Chronicles??... Really God?"  He resounded "YES!"... "Just listen to my voice."  So I did...

What he wanted me to hear was King David's first psalm of worship to the Lord (vs. 8-36) after he had the ark of the covenant brought back to Jerusalem (God's presence returning to His people).  Verse 29 created an aftershock to the previous earthquake that took place in my heart, "Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness..." 

It was suddenly crystal clear.  Whether I felt like it or not, God was calling me to worship Him for WHO He is because He is worthy of it!  He was calling me to a 'sacrifice of praise'... sacrifice the feelings of my flesh and praise Him for all He has done, for His power, His majesty, His creation, for giving me life, a husband, children, most importantly salvation through His son, Jesus Christ.

I obeyed.  At first, my feelings didn't match my actions, but as I pressed through, the weight became lighter and lighter... I began to feel freedom instead of captivity.  I had been in the desert.  It was in the desert that the Lord came to meet me.  He satisfied my thirst with the Water of the Word.  He changed my perspective and suddenly I could, once again, see hope on the horizon... hope of an eternal destination where there will be no more pain, fears, or tears.  A place where there will be unceasing worship of the One who is worthy of all praise.

A favorite song of mine and my children now have deeper meaning when we sing it.  "This is my prayer in the desert.  When all that's within me feels dry.  This is my prayer in my hunger and need.  My God is the God who provides... I will bring praise, I will bring praise.  No weapon formed against me shall remain!  I will rejoice, I will declare 'God is my victory and He is here'... All of my life, in every season You are still God.  I have a reason to sing.  I have a reason to worship!"

If you find yourself in a spiritual desert, make a 'sacrifice of praise' to the Lord.  He desires to meet you there and bring you up out of the muck and mire to a place of freedom in Him.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Being Clay...

These days are passing over me
At the speed of light
And standing here in their shadows
I'm silenced at the sight
Like water on the wind I sense the change to come
All that I've held in like teardrops run

I am clay and I am water
Falling forward in this order
While the world spins 'round so fast
Slowly I'm becoming who I am

Nothing ever stays the same
The wheel will always turn
I feel the fire in the change
But somehow it doesn't burn
Like a beggar blessed I stumble in the Grace
Reaching out my hand for what awaits

I am clay and I am water
Falling forward in this order
While the world spins 'round so fast
Slowly I'm becoming who I am

I will live
From my heart
And I will catch the lines of love as they come
Back to You
I know they'll lead
And into You
I know I'll lean

Thursday, June 16, 2011

He May Not Be Perfect...But He's Perfect for ME!

I don't even know where to begin! I think I've started and restarted this first sentence so many times, I've lost count. I guess I'll just lay it all out there. A few years ago my my husband, Dwight, was in a head-on collision which he managed to walk away from with mere scrapes and bruises on the outside of his body.  However, the months to follow would produce a mixture of emotions as we learned, together, how to press on after he underwent surgery for a heart transplant.  At times we still struggle through the healing process, but most often we are now elated with joy at how much this new heart has changed our lives... for the better!

Cause you see, this wasn't a vehicle collision. This was a collision with the Way (Were we living the way the Lord wanted us to be?), the Truth (What did God's Word have to say about it?), and the Life (How would this new revelation change the way we lived our daily lives?).

Dwight never did enjoy reading, even his bible. So you can imagine my shock when he began to read it night after night until the wee hours of the morning. He was researching some things he thought were biblical but wasn't certain since he couldn't recall the reference. What he actually found, though, was that he began to LOVE to read God's Word. It was like food for his soul. He craved it! He began reading it out loud, over me, over our children, doing bible studies as often as he possibly could with whoever would join him.

And as a result, the Lord has changed his heart completely about what it really means to follow Jesus. I think of my sweet husband when I read Ephesians 5:26 "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church...that he might sanctify her by the washing of water with the word...".  I have to confess that sometimes he wants to wash the Word over me when I'm preoccupied and it can frustrate me if I focus on myself. *embarrased* Then I recall the times early in our marriage when I prayed that God would make him want to read the bible and pray with me. Humbly, I realize just how blessed I truly am!!

Dwight also loves to read the Word over our children and pray with them. I would say his biggest exhortation to anyone desiring to follow Jesus is 'Get in the Word...STAY in the Word!' He considers himself a slave to Jesus and desires to live wholeheartedly surrendered to Christ daily. He has a huge burden not only for the lost, but also for those who regularly attend church but are being deceived by the enemy about the Truth. He is a hard worker, wonderful husband and father and thoroughly enjoys serving others (especially when he gets nothing in return).

The Father always knows what's best for His children. So while Dwight may not be perfect, he's perfect for ME and I'm so thankful I get to be his helpmate! :-D

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

"Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand." Matthew 12:25b

So I'm reading this morning in the book of Matthew. I've read this chapter several times, but this time it dawns on me the personal implication this passage has on our everyday lives!

What do we want for our family? For our children? To be "blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation" (Phil. 2:15).

We have to be intentional about teaching our children to love the Lord and obey His commandments. We choose to do this by teaching our lambs at home so they can be fully-trained warriors for God's army before we release them to be sheep amongst the world of wolves.

Think about an unanchored boat on the water for a second. With the exception of stagnant waters, a boat is going to go wherever the current takes it unless it's being steered in a different direction. Jesus puts it this way... "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters." (Matthew 12:30) The cold hard truth is this: We might love our children more than life itself, but if we aren't teaching them how to follow Jesus, they will naturally follow the world.

I believe verse twenty-five of the same chapter is equally as important! "Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or HOUSE divided against itself will stand" (emphasis mine). As parents, we MUST be on the same page with regards to raising our children. We need the same vision, goals and plan of action to accomplish such a task. Further, it's not only important to be united in our parenting techniques, it's IMPERATIVE we are united in Christ! Only "in Him will all things hold together." (Col 1:17)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Heart of a Child

My children are still pretty young. Corbin is my oldest and he won't be five for a couple more months. So I'm sure you can imagine how sometimes it feels as though the hard work I put into training them seems like it just insn't sinking in. Then there are the rare moments when Corbin will make a comment or say something in his prayer that seems so mature for his age. And suddenly I realize all that work is worth it!

This morning we were talking to Corbin about how you must change on the inside before you can permanently have a change on the outside... a 'heart change'. To help a four year old understand this I tried to explain how only God can change our hearts, so we need to ask Him to soften our hearts and make us moldable. I gave a brief example of the difference between playdough and a rock hoping he would comprehend how one can be made into anything you want and the other can't be changed no matter how hard you squeeze.

We were transitioning into a little worship time, so we asked him if he would like to pray beforehand. And then it happened. My sweet, little son opened his mouth and out came some of the most beautiful, genuine words I've ever heard him say... "Thank you, Jesus, for today. Help us to have soft hearts like playdough so You can make us what You want us to be..." *sigh*

Then there's my darling, Hayden. She loves music! She often raises her hands when singing to Jesus as she dances around and around. My husband and I had a conversation recently about how we contemplated whether or not it was ok to allow them to 'mimic' us whether it be in prayer or the way we worship. While some may frown upon this behavior, I think it's more important for our children to see our faith in action and know it's real. Our children will naturally do and say as we have done. I would rather my children minic how I pray or worship and not fully understand the meaning behind it right now than grow up thinking I didn't do those things at all.

What about you? Are you timid about openly expressing your love to Christ when you worship? Do you pray under your breath or always recite rote prayers rather than being real and transparent with the Lord? If our desire is to see our children know Jesus as Savior and live their lives wholeheartedly surrendered to Christ above anything else, they will need to see that type of abandon from us first. Don't you want them to know you are a safe place when they have questions about their faith? Let's be intentional teachers leaving no doubt in their minds about Who is number one in our lives!

Let's embrace our heritage :)

Mat 18:1-5"At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me..."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

21 Days of Prayer for Sons

The Book: Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need It Most
The Challange: Pray various scriptures over my sons for 21 consecutive days
The sons the Lord has given me: Corbin (almost 5) & Elijah (10 mos)

This challange, for me, began with a huge hiccup. I wasn't aware of how the prayer topics were structured in the book so I didn't read until I got to the Obedience scriptures. I started day 2 praying all the scriptures at once for both days 1 & 2.

I hate to admit it, but I haven't been diligent to pray over my boys throughout the day. I am very lazy in praying continuously, whch is why I wanted a challenge. Apparently, it isn't doing much to spark my prayer life. I'm quite embarrased by this fact!

I will say, though, I have enjoyed reading Brooke's thoughts. I agree wholeheartedly with them, even. I KNOW these things in my head, & I'm seeking to implement most of them into my daily life. But consistent praying has always been a weakness of mine.

I'm just being real... & I need your prayers!